Humanity is changing Earth’s climate so fast and devouring resources so voraciously that it is poised to bequeath a ravaged planet to future generations, the UN warned Thursday in its most comprehensive survey of the environment.
The fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4), published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is compiled by 390 experts from observations, studies and data garnered over two decades.
The 570-page report — which caps a year that saw climate change dominate the news — says world leaders must propel the environment "to the core of decision-making" to tackle a daily worsening crisis.
"The need couldn’t be more urgent and the time couldn’t be more opportune, with our enhanced understanding of the challenges we face, to act now to safeguard our own survival and that of future generations," GEO-4 said.
The UNEP report offers the broadest and most detailed tableau of environmental change since the Brundtland Report, "Our Common Future," was issued in 1987 and put the environment on the world political map…
Earth has experienced five mass extinctions in 450 million years, the latest of which occurred 65 million years ago, says GEO-4.
"A sixth major extinction is under way, this time caused by human behaviour," it says.
Over the past two decades, growing prosperity has tremendously strengthened the capacity to understand and confront the environmental challenges ahead.
Despite this, the global response has been "woefully inadequate," the report said…